Richardson increased its funding of arts and cultural organizations for fiscal year 2021-22, according to city officials during a May 16 City Council meeting.

Anthony Pampillonia, chair of the Richardson Cultural Arts Commission, said the city expanded its reach to help fund 21 arts organizations during FY 2021-22. In addition, hotel/motel funds given to arts organizations increased in FY 2021-22 to $220,000. Pampillonia said 623 performances supported by art grants have already happened or are scheduled in Richardson for this fiscal year.

During FY 2020-21, 12 different arts nonprofit organizations were funded by $180,000 in hotel/motel funds; 255 performances were held during FY 2020-21 with more than 17,000 audience members attending.

The city’s arts commission acts as an advisory board for funding cultural and arts organizations, according to city officials. Funding for the various arts organizations comes from the city's hotel/motel tax fund and is decided by the commission during its monthly meetings.

Before the beginning of the pandemic, Pampillonia said the commission annually funded more than 500 performances per year with over 126,000 audience members in attendance.

Pampillonia said he was proud to help support a large number of organizations that continue to serve the community through the arts.

“I think a lot of our groups are really good at pivoting and focusing on what worked well to provide for their audience,” he said.

The 21 arts organizations funded by the commission this fiscal year include six instrumental organizations, four theater companies, three choral groups, three international organizations, two ballet troupes, two literary organizations and a visual arts group.

Before FY 2021-2022, the commission created a streamlined arts grant submission process for those seeking city funding. The new submission process includes a questionnaire that gathers information on key topics for each organization. Key criteria for an arts grant submission include financial health and whether the organization is “Richardson centric,” according to Pampillonia.

One of the biggest efforts for the commission during FY 2021-22 has been providing more diversity through its partnership with international organizations, Pampillonia said.

“We've really pushed recently to [determine] how we best serve the citizens, and that's not always by providing a livestream,” he said. “It's sometimes what's best for the underserved population, like to bring more diversity to the city through events like the Dallas Chinese Community Center. The more we can promote our arts groups to reflect our citizens, the better.”

The commission also analyzed the effect of its Percent of Arts Ordinance fund, which was passed in July 2015 to support the city’s Public Art Master Plan.

Public art projects at the public safety campus, the Richardson Senior Center and Fire Station No. 3 were all funded using this ordinance, according to city officials. Future public art projects will also be part of the Richardson Public Library and City Hall renovation project.